LIVE PREVIEW: Sŵn Festival 2023

October has rolled in, and this can only mean one thing for music lovers in Cardiff: Sŵn Festival is back. Fully back on its feet after the interruption of the pandemic years and following a successful run in 2022, the beloved multi-venue festival is set to bring one of its most ambitious line-ups yet to the Welsh Capital, offering three days of music which promise something to satisfy all tastes, from the conventional to the more alternative.

The full line-up announcement follows their 20 for 23 initiative, in which the festival highlighted a number of up-and-coming artists which will be joining the Sŵn ranks, cementing it as one of the spearheads of alternative music in Wales. The 20 for 23 artists include the likes of Jessica Winter, perhaps the most interesting and unusual voice of recent British electro-pop; the intense Welsh post-punk of Slate; and the iconic Lynks, a near-legend of the grassroots London circuit. Pop lovers may also beeline for the sets of well-known favourites such as Pip Blom or intriguing newcomers Viji, straight out of the Speedy Wunderground stables.

Those who love guitar bands and louder sounds will have plenty of choice during the three days of the festival, too. Familiar names like Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs are joined by live-show powerhouses like KEG and Fat Dog, for what will likely be a thrilling experience with plenty of mosh pits; whereas Brighton’s Our Girl bring in the grunge influences and Manchester’s Mandy, Indiana tinge their post-punk with darker notes. On the alternative front, seekers of the unusual will love the folk-punk madness brought to the table by Opus Kink, the disco/New Wave hybrid of MADMADMAD, or the bizarre-loving, genre-defying Tapir!. Electronic music has also always enjoyed a solid presence at Sŵn, and this year’s festival brings in a heavy hitter with Acid Klaus, the latest project of Eccentronic Research Council’s Adrian Flanagan. Lastly, if you’re keen on psychedelia, watch out for the return of Flamingods or take a listen of BODUR’s experimental pop. Iconic names such as East India Youth and BC Camplight complete a line-up which is almost a perfect snapshot of the liveliness of the music scene in the UK and beyond.

Bringing a wave of excitement to the Cardiff city centre for yet another year, Sŵn Festival shows the capital’s music scene at its very best, providing its varied audience with opportunities to discover local artists or venture further away from the beaten track. Its 2023 edition is showing its ambition in its attempt to be better and bigger—and if its final announcement is anything to go by, it will not disappoint.

Sŵn Festival will run at clubs in the Cardiff city centre on October 20th-22nd. 

You can follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Chiara Strazzulla
Chiara was born in Sicily and lives in Cardiff, where she is a freelance journalist and teacher of Classics. She is an internationally published novelist and has collaborated with a variety of publications both in English and Italian. She has been a music lover her whole life, and her taste in music ranges from glam rock to punk by way of blues and country.

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